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Anxiety symptoms in Korean elderly individuals: a two-year longitudinal community study

  • Hee-Ju Kang (a1), Kyung-Yeol Bae (a1), Sung-Wan Kim (a1), Il-Seon Shin (a1), Jin-Sang Yoon (a1) and Jae-Min Kim (a1)...



Although late-life anxiety occurs frequently and is associated with higher morbidity, few longitudinal studies have been concerned with the evaluation thereof. We investigated the prevalence, incidence, and persistence of anxiety and related factors over a two-year period in community-dwelling Korean elderly individuals.


A total of 1,204 Korean elderly individuals were evaluated at baseline, and 909 were followed up two years later. The community version of the Geriatric Mental State Schedule was used to estimate anxiety at both baseline and follow-up interviews. We defined “prevalence” as the rate of anxiety symptoms (for both anxiety cases and sub-threshold anxiety) at baseline; “incidence” as the rate of anxiety symptoms at follow-up in those without baseline anxiety symptoms; and “persistence” as the rate of anxiety symptoms at follow-up in those with baseline anxiety symptoms. Associations between various covariates and anxiety status were examined using multivariate logistic regression models.


The prevalence, incidence, and persistence of anxiety symptoms were 38.1%, 29.3%, and 41.1%, respectively. Prevalent anxiety symptoms were associated independently with female, rented housing, more stressful life event and medical illness, physical inactivity, depression, insomnia, and lower cognitive function. Incident anxiety symptoms were predicted by older age, female gender, depression, and insomnia; persistent anxiety symptoms were predicted by older age, more medical illness, and baseline depression.


Since depression was associated with prevalent, incident, and persistent anxiety symptoms, effective detection and management thereof is important in older adults to reduce anxiety. Furthermore, preventive collaborative care should be considered, particularly for older, female, insomniac patients.


Corresponding author

Corresponding should be addressed to: Prof. Jae-Min Kim, Department of Psychiatry, Chonnam National University Medical School, 160 Baekseoro, Dong-Ku, Gwangju, 501-746, South Korea. Phone: +82-62-220-6143; Fax: +82-62-220-2351. Email:


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Anxiety symptoms in Korean elderly individuals: a two-year longitudinal community study

  • Hee-Ju Kang (a1), Kyung-Yeol Bae (a1), Sung-Wan Kim (a1), Il-Seon Shin (a1), Jin-Sang Yoon (a1) and Jae-Min Kim (a1)...


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